Duck Gordon George Osborne got it right. This was the pre-election report of a government ducking the hard choices.

Over the next six years the British state will borrow £789bn.  The national debt will treble. We heard nothing from Labour on how they will deal with this national crisis.

Despite falling prices the Chancellor promised pensioners a 2.5% cash
increase. That's a 4% real terms increase. That's not only a ducked
hard choice but a transparent and unaffordable bribe.

Darling ducked an apology for getting his forecasts so wrong. A year
ago he said the economy would shrink by 0.75% to 1.25%. It's actually
due to shrink by 4.75%. Last year he forecast that this year's deficit
would be £78bn. It's actually £178bn. Can you believe a word he says?

Darling didn't tell us how he'd cut spending after the coming [election] year. He's actually spending £7bn MORE this year. Crazy duck.

In the more immediate term he talked about the departmental budgets he will increase but kept silent about those he will cut.

Darling didn't tell us how he hoped to fashion a 3.5% growth rate but based his estimates of future budget deficits on that optimistic level of growth.

It's difficult to see how the economy is going to create more jobs given another increase in National Insurance contributions. It's difficult to see how the economy is going to create jobs given the extra burden he imposed on 40p income taxpayers by failing to link the threshold to prices.

Tim Montgomerie